Research Summary

I obtained a Ph.D. degree in Biostatistics (April 2020) at the University of Pittsburgh. My primary research interests focus on complex survival data with high dimensional covariates

Specifically, I am working on 1) semiparametric inference for multivariate time-to-event data (right- and interval-censored) with applications to the high-dimensional covariate setting (e.g., genetics); 2) machine/deep learning prediction for censored outcomes using genetic and imaging data; 3) model diagnosis for copula-based survival models; 4) variable selection for high-dimensional covariates. Currently I have accepted publications in Biometrics, Biostatistics (won the 2019 ENAR Student Paper Award), Statistical Methods in Medical Research, Statistics in Medicine (won the 2019 LiDS Poster Award), Lifetime Data Analysis, and R Journal.

My current applications include analyzing high-dimensional bioinformatics data (genetics, RNA sequencing, single cell RNA sequencing, proteomics and metabolomics data) and large-scale national survey data (NHANES). I am the first author of several clinical publications, including the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology and the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

My other collaborative fields include longitudinal data analysis, causal inference and study design. I collaborate with physicians, epidemiologists and medical researchers in pulmonary, cancer, epidemiology and psychiatry studies. I have co-authored more than 10 published papers, including Science and Nature Immunology

Curriculum Vitae (November 10, 2022)

My NCBI Bibliography

Short Bio

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Renmin University of China School of Statistics. I received my Ph.D. degree in Biostatistics from the University of Pittsburgh, co-advised by Drs. Ying Ding and Wei Chen. I received my M.S. degrees in Biostatistics and Immunology from Columbia University and University of Pittsburgh, B.S. degree in Animal Sciences from Cornell University, D.V.M degree from China Agricultural University.


  • Best Presentation Award, Biostatistics Research Day, University of Pittsburgh, 2020
  • ASA Pittsburgh Chapter Student of the Year, ASA Pittsburgh Chapter, 2019
  • ENAR Distinguished Student Paper Award, 2019
  • ICSA Student Paper Award, 2019
  • Lifetime Data Science Conference (LiDS) Best Poster Award, 2019
  • SAMSI Travel Award for the Deep Learning Workshop, 2019
  • iBRIGHT Travel Award, MD Anderson Cancer Center, 2019
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, 2019
  • Honorable Mention Student Presentation Award, Department of Biostatistics, 2018


  • National Natural Science Foundation of China. Novel Semiparametric Transformation Model under Complex Censoring with Application to the Progression of Chronic Diseases in the Elderly. (Principal investigator, 2022-2024).

Publications [by topic]:

  1. Tao Sun, Yu Cheng, Ying Ding. (2022+). An information Ratio-based Goodness-of-Fit Test for Copula Models on Censored Data. Biometrics. Accepted.
  2. Tao Sun, Yunlong Li, Zhengyan Xiao, Ying Ding, Xiaojun Wang. (2022+). Semiparametric copula method for semi-competing risks data subject to interval censoring and left truncation: Application to disability in elderly. Statistical Methods in Medical Research. Accepted.
  3. Tao Sun, Ying Ding. (2022+). Neural network on interval-censored data with application to the prediction of Alzheimer’s disease. Biometrics. Accepted.
  4. Grubisha, MJ, Sun, T, Erickson, SL, Helmer, CD, Ding, Y, Homanics, GE, Penzes, P, Wills, ZP, Sweet, RA. (2021). A Missense Mutation in Kalirin Enhances Neuronal RhoA Signaling and Leads to Regression of Cortical Dendritic Arbors Across Development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Accepted.
  5. Jun Zhang, Greg Siegle, Tao Sun, Wendy D’Andrea, Robert Krafty. (2021+). Interpretable Principal Component Analysis for Multilevel Multivariate Functional Data. Biostatistics. Accepted.
  6. Tao Sun, Yue Wei, Wei Chen, Ying Ding. (2020). GWAS-based Deep Learning for Survival Prediction. (An earlier version won the 2019 LiDS Best Poster Award). Statistics in Medicine. Accepted. PMID: 32974946. [GitHub]
  7. Tao Sun, Ying Ding. (2020). CopulaCenR: Copula Based Regression Models for Bivariate Censored Data in R. The R Journal. 12(1):266-282. [CRAN]
  8. Tao Sun, Ying Ding. (2019). Copula-based Semiparametric Regression Method for Bivariate Data under General Interval Censoring. (An earlier version won the 2019 ENAR Distinguished Student Paper Award). Biostatistics. doi: 10.1093/biostatistics/kxz032. PMID: 31506682. [GitHub]
  9. Tao Sun, Yi Liu, Richard J. Cook, Wei Chen, Ying Ding. (2019). Copula-based Score Test for Bivariate Time-to-event Data, with Application to a Genetic Study of AMD Progression. Lifetime Data Analysis. 25(3):546–568. PMID: 30560439.
  10. Tao Sun, Zhe Sun, Yale Jiang, Annabel Ferguson, Joseph M. Pilewski, Jay K. Kolls, Wei Chen, Kong Chen. (2019). Transcriptomic responses to Ivacaftor and prediction of Ivacaftor clinical responsiveness. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. 61(5):643-652. PMID:30995102. (Editorial Highlight)
  11. Ge Yang, Tao Sun*, Yueh-Ying Han, Franziska Rosser, Erick Forno, Wei Chen, Juan C. Celedon. (2019). Serum cadmium and lead, wheezing and lung function in a nationwide study of adults in the United States. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice. In Press. PMID:31146018. (* co-first author)
  12. Yue Wei, Yi Liu, Tao Sun, Wei Chen, Ying Ding. (2019). Gene-based Association Analysis for Bivariate Time-to-event Data through Functional Regression with Copula Models. Biometrics. In Press. PMID:31625595.
  13. Hehua Dai, Peixang Lan, Daqiang Zhao, Khodor Abou-Daya, Wentao Liu, Wenhao Chen, Andrew J. Friday, Amanda L. Williams, Tao Sun, Jianjiao Chen, Wei Chen, Steven Mortin-Toth, Jayne S. Danska, Chris Wiebe, Peter Nickerson, Matthew L. Nicotra1, Sebastien Gingras, Hiromi Kubagawa1, Mark J. Shlomchik, Martin H. Oberbarnscheidt, Xian C. Li, Fadi G. Lakkis. (2020). Paired immunoglobulin-like receptors mediate innate myeloid cell memory to nonself MHC molecules. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.aax4040. PMID: 32381589
  14. Hiroshi Yano, Deepali Sawant, Maria Chikina, Qianxia Zhang, Zhe Sun, Tao Sun, Wei Chen, Creg Workman, Dario Vignali. (2019). Adaptive plasticity of IL10+ and IL35+ regulatory T cells and their cooperative regulation of anti-tumor immunity. Nature Immunology. In Press. PMID: 30936494
  15. Ge Yang, Yueh-Ying Han, Tao Sun, Ling Li, Franziska Rosser, Erick Forno, Sanjay R. Patel, Wei Chen, Juan C. Celedón. (2019). Sleep duration, current asthma, and lung function in a nationwide study of U.S. adults. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. In Press. PMID: 31225970
  16. Yale Jiang, Olena Grozieva, Ting Wang, Erick Forno, Nadia Boutaoui, Tao Sun, Edna Acosta-Perez, Glorisa Canino, Erik Melen, Wei Chen, Juan C. Celedon. (2019). Transcriptomics of atopy and atopic asthma in white blood cells from children and adolescents. European Respiratory Journal. In Press. PMID: 30923181
  17. Qi Yan, Ying Ding, Yi Liu, Tao Sun, Lars G Fritsche, Traci Clemons, Rinki Ratnapriya, Michael Klein, Richard Cook, Yu Liu, Ruzong Fan, Lai Wei, Gonçalo Abecasis, Anand Swaroop, Emily Chew, AREDS2 Research Group, Daniel Weeks, Wei Chen. (2018). Genome-wide Analysis of Disease Progression in Age-related Macular Degeneration. Human Molecular Genetics. 27(5):929-940. PMID: 29346644
  18. Kristy Boggs, Ting Wang, Abrahim Orabi, Amitava Mukherjee, John Eisses, Tao Sun, Li Wen, Tanveer Javed, Farzad Esni, Wei Chen, Sohail Husain. (2018). Pancreatic gene expression during recovery after pancreatitis reveals unique transcriptome profiles. Scientific Reports. PMID: 29362419.
  19. Gabrielle Snyder, Claudia Holzman, Tao Sun, Marnie Bertolet, Bertha Bullen, Janet M. Catov. (2018). Breastfeeding greater than six months is associated with smaller maternal waist circumference up to one decade after delivery. Journal of Women’s Health. 28(4):462-472. PMID: 30481097.
  20. Adam Christopher, Abraham Apfel, Tao Sun, Jackie Kreutzer, David Ezon. (2018). Diastolic velocity half time is associated with aortic coarctation gradient at catheterization independent of echocardiographic and clinical blood pressure gradients. Congenital Heart Disease. PMID: 30395387.
  21. Sergiu Abramovici, Arun Antony, Maria Elizabeth Baldwin, Alexandra Urban, Gena Ghearing, Julie Pan, Tao Sun, Robert Todd Krafty, R. Mark Richardson, Anto Bagic. (2017) Features of Simultaneous Scalp and Intracranial EEG That Predict Localization of Ictal Onset Zone. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience. PMID: 29067832.
  22. Abhinav P. Acharya, Kathryn M. Theisen, Andres Correa, Thiagarajan Meyyappan, Abraham Apfel, Tao Sun, Tatum V. Tarin, and Steven R. Little. (2017) An inexpensive, point-of-care urine test for bladder cancer in patients undergoing hematuria evaluation. Advanced Healthcare Materials. PMID: 28885787.
  23. Joshua Mattila, Pauline Maiello, Tao Sun, Laura Via, JoAnne Flynn. (2015). Granzyme B-expressing neutrophils correlate with bacteria load in granulomas from Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected cynomolgus macaques. Cellular Microbiology. PMID: 25653138.

Under review/in preparation:

  1. Tao Sun, Minyue Liu, Wei Chen, Juan C. Celedon. Computer-aided Asthma Diagnosis in School-age Children. [Shiny]. In preparation.


Teaching is a rewarding and fulfilling experience to me. I am the primary instructor for a major graduate-level course for two consecutive years. Besides, I was the teaching assistant to the advanced course of Survival Analysis.

  • Fall 2020: Sampling Techniques (primary instructor, 63 students)
  • Fall 2017, Fall 2018: BIOST 2081 Mathematical Methods for Statistics (primary instructor, 32 students)
  • Spring 2018: BIOST 2054 Survival Analysis (teaching assistant)
  • Spring 2019: Invited lecturer in BIOST 2054 Survival Analysis

Selected Presentations:

I enjoy to share and learn ideas through presentations. I attend ENAR, ICSA, JSM and LiDS.


  • Lab meeting and journal club organizer, 2017-2019
  • Session chair
    • JSM 2019, ENAR 2019, JSM 2017
  • Representative
    • ASA Pittsburgh Chapter 2019, Biostatistics Department 2017


If you are interested in my work, please send me an email ( Thanks for your attention!